After our first few trips along the east coast, it was time for us to travel all the way North, up to Cape Tribulation. On the way there, we found unbelievably many beautiful places.
Our first stop was Noosa, which resembles the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and therefore the last bit that kind of reminded us of Brisbane.
From there, we made our way to Hervey Bay, where we took the ferry for our Fraser Island Tour, the largest sand island in the world. Susi has already been there before, but Chris hasn’t and it’s a place one can’t get enough of nevertheless.
Since there aren’t any roads on the island, there are two options to get around: Either by your own four wheel drive or by taking the “offroad bus”, which we decided to take. The drive was really exhausting, even for us as passengers, but the places we’ve seen were definitely worth it. There’s so many exciting things on this island that a single day is barely enough to see all of them. Our highlights were:
Lake McKenzie, a freshwater lake with beautiful white beaches and crystal clear water.
The Central Station, a former wood worker camp which was abandoned once the deforestation came to an end and is being recaptured by nature slowly, but steadily. There’s only a few spots left, where you can find traces of the former camp, and everywhere around you is just silence, a little creek, birds and the sun shining through the trees.
And of course, there’s simply the driving along the beach, which also serves as main highway as well as landing strip for small planes. Every once in a while you’re able to spot a dingo and at some point, you’ll spot the remains of the SS Maheno in the far distance. This ship served as passenger ship and hospital ship in WWI and stranded ashore after the towing rope snapped during a cyclone on it’s way to Japan in 1935. Ever since then, it’s been sitting on the beach of the island and it’s slowly decaying shell is one of the main attractions.
On our ferry back to the mainland, we also had the pleasure of enjoying one of the most beautiful sunsets so far, which really made up for the rainy afternoon.
After Fraser it was time for an important test in Seventeen Seventy / Agnes Water for Susi: Surfing! The first time along professionals and without an instructor. But of course she did a great job and looked like a real pro 😉 .
Sadly, we didn’t have too much time that day, because we had to hit the road again to make it to our next destination on time: Cape Hillsborough. We had to get there in the morning before sunrise, because that’s one of the only places, where kangaroos have their breakfast on the beach. Never before have we been so happy after getting just 4 hours of sleep on the side of the highway. Really an experience we’ll never forget!
Of course, we have to be careful with superlatives, but now it’s time for Whitehaven Beach. This beach on the largest of the Whitsunday Islands is something we’ve only seen on TV before and we weren’t really sure if a place so breathtaking actually exists, but there we were! We don’t got to take pictures, but we even got to see some rays in the knee-deep water along the beach and all in all it couldn’t have been any more perfect.
With a trip like this still in mind, we hit the road for a couple of day without any major sights, until we got to the Millaa Millaa falls. Like many other waterfalls in Australia, they’re a welcoming oasis in the glowing heat, which got more and more exhausting the further we traveled north.
On our way back was the first time our little van was about to leave us hanging, but fortunately it was just a cracked fuel hose which Chris was able to replace within an hour. Because of that, we were lucky and still made it to our next stop on time and got to follow our new hobby: diving! Just like in Indonesia, we couldn’t get enough from diving and snorkeling in Australia and of course especially not along the Great Barrier Reef. Simply put, it was the single most memorable experience we have had along our journey. We will never forget it and just because of this, we can’t wait to get back there some day.
With fresh saltwater still behind our ears, we boarded the train to Kuranda 😉 . This scenic railway is an important part of Queensland’s history. It climbs to an elevation of about 350m along its 37km journey and was the first reliable connection from Cairns to the northern woodworking camps and mines.
Since there have been some roads built after the trains first journey, we hit those, too and went basically as far north as we could. Our first destination along this part of the trip was yet another dream beach: Palm Cove Beach, just north of Cairns 😉 .
By arriving at Cape Tribulation, we pretty much reached the end of our journey to the North of Queensland. Going further north is only possible by 4WD, taking the Bloomfield Track or the Savannah Way. Nevertheless there were still about 1000km left between us and the most Northern tip of the Australian main land, Cape York. We ended our explorations to the North with a night to remember, by camping right at the oceanfront at Noah Beach.
Traveling this part of Queensland really showed us that there’s much more to explore by 4WD, which is yet another reason for us to return one day 😉 .